Welcome to Heard’s Visual Arts gallery. In these posts you’ll find images of our client’s original art. Enjoy!

Each artist whose likeness and/or work is posted on our site has signed a Heard media release or verbally given permission for their likeness and/or the artistic work they created to be posted on this site and shared via our social media platforms.

Paper Daze

Friends of Guest House, August 24 and 31, 2022: When the rest of the Friends of Guest House staff saw what fun their residents in their Workforce Development program had with our Heard art and paper crafting events, they wanted in on the fun! So, they asked if our Heard artist Alison McHugh would want to do a special class for the rest of the group. And of course we couldn’t refuse. In fact, at their request, we held two events – one on August 24 and the second on August 31.

It was two nights of fun, creativity, and finding your voice. And, a night of creating your personal mantra to stay inspired. Who can’t use a little more of that? Do you think they had fun? You tell us! Judging by their smiles we’re saying YES!

What Word Guides You?

July 27, 2022 – “It honestly feels like Christmas when someone creates something new and I get to see it. I love this group!” And that super-positive statement didn’t even come from our Friends of Guest House clients who created their “Guiding Word” canvases – it came from our art teacher Alison McHugh!

They’re creating something never before seen in the history of the Universe. That’s powerful and I get to witness it,” Alison continued. “[It’s] awesome to be a small part of the journey for these women. I’m humbled and grateful….I definitely get more than I give when I work with this group. They filled me right to overflowing!!” Alison continued on a Facebook post.

Can we just tell you how happy it makes US to know our art team loves what they do so much? And what about our clients? Can you just feel the joy and power? What word guides YOU?

Scrapbooks for the Win!

July 20 – 2022: Another win for our artist Alison McHugh today – scrapbooking with the residents of Friends of Guest House! Alison is a scrapbooking and paper craft fiend, and she was determined that our Friends of Guest House friends were as well! And success! As you can see from these happy faces (even the masked ones), everyone had a fabulous time. “SO MUCH FUN” Alison told me later. See what bringing creativity, self expression, and joy to people does? Does it get better? We don’t think so!

Who Am I – Part 2

July 13, 2022 – Our artist Alison McHugh’s “I Am” boxes were such a hit at Casa Chirilagua that she brought it to Friends of Guest House yesterday. So many things to love about this paper craft, especially the very different ways the women express their secret selves – only they can see what’s inside the box unless they choose to share it (and we’re so glad they did)!


Easy Art with Easels!

July 6, 2022 – One of the best things about summer is that Alison teaches for us – her day job is as an art therapist with Fairfax County Public Schools. Today she led eight Friends of Guest House residents through making their personal, motivational easel cards. Imagine one of these on your dresser, encouraging you every morning! Wouldn’t you fee motivated every single day?

And our Friends of Guest House friends? They LOVED them! Some shared their quotes and art with the group, and they all are looking forward to Alison’s class next week! What do you think she will do?

What’s in your ‘I Am’ Box?

June 29, 2022: There’s nothing with paper that our art teacher and paper crafter fan Alison McHugh can’t do, so we knew when we sent her off to Casa Chirilagua for an afternoon with their kids, it would be amazing. It’s a double win when our Heard art teachers have as much fun as the people we work with! Alison sure had fun at Casa Chirilagua on Wednesday, and so did the kids. And isn’t the “I Am” box a great idea?
Afterwards Alison wrote to us: “These kids were amazing and we had SO MUCH fun! We made ‘I Am’ boxes, where they wrote/drew about all of the great things they are on the inside. I practiced my budding Spanish speaking skills and we drew and colored and laughed. So fun. Thank you!”

More Fun Fridays at Casa Chirilagua!

What do you get when you mix our art teacher Sharmila with dozens of elementary school kids from Casa Chirilagua? Why, puppets and sculptures and imagination, oh my! So much to share here! Where to start? Let’s start with Alberto Giacometti, one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century whose work was particularly influenced by Cubism and Surrealism styles. Giacometti was best known for the bronze sculptures of tall, thin human figures, made between 1945 to 1960. Sharmila introduced him to the Casa Chirilagua kids, gave them some pipe cleaners (tall and thin, get it?) and off they went! We just had to share the octopus video, and we love how proud she was of her creation. And the earrings, of course. One must be properly accessorized.

Puppets were on the docket the second week! It’s amazing what kids can create with paper bags, crayons, glue, and a free imagination. Love the blue eyeshadow and eyelashes on the puppet below!





“Wind”ing into 2022!

We promise that this is the worst (but sadly, probably not the last) bad pun. But we couldn’t help ourselves, since our art teacher Sharmila cleverly decided to have the Casa Chirilagua kiddies make windmills to encourage sustainable energy on our Fun Friday date. Using everyday materials like paper cups, glue, and popsicle sticks (and a glue gun, which no crafter should be without) the kids had a lot of fun putting these together. One little girl greeted Sharmila with, “I love when you come here! You always have new things for us to do!”


Fun Fridays and Gratitude with Casa Chirilagua

We were beyond excited when our partner Casa Chirilagua wanted to bring back “Fun Friday” with us! We had started Fun Fridays with them earlier this year, then had to cancel when that Friday time was needed for homework help after school re-opened. Starting Fun Friday was double good news – it was a chance for us to bring art and creativity to these cute kids, and they didn’t need as much homework assistance. High fives all the way around!

The setup was a new one for us: Three 30 minute classes for 13 kids in grades 1 – 5. Whew! That’s a lot of kids in a short amount of time! And of course we delivered! In fact, our art teacher Sharmila Karamchandani told us quite a few times how much she loved working with the kids – their innocence, their openness, their freedom of expression.

For the inaugural project Sharmila asked them to draw gratitude trees – who and what are you grateful for, and write that on your branches. And armed with colored pencils and plenty of paper, the kids drew us mommies and daddies, raspberries, owls, and friends. Here’s a few photos to make you say “aaaaawwwww.”

Tibetan Flags with Friends of Guest House

Imagine if you created your Tibetan Prayer Flag, with your own affirmations. Tibetan Prayer Flags are traditionally believed to bring happiness, peace, prosperity, good fortune, health and victory over obstacles. Who doesn’t want that? The residents of Friends of Guest House created their own flags on August 23, 2021 under the loving direction of our amazing Sharmila Karamchandani. Take a look at these videos and photos, and listen to the powerful messages these brave women created for themselves.

Creative Writing

Visual Arts



Public Speaking